Vietnam tourism wants to further diversify its appeal to travellers in a bid to lessen the burden of mass tourism development in some of its destinations. That was one of the many new developments in the strategy of Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT) announced during the recently hosted Asean Travel Forum in Singapore.
Last year, the country beats a new record in foreign tourists arrivals. “We are proud that we reached for the first time over 10 million international travellers. That is a first in our tourism history as it was also a first that China took over Korea as our largest source market”, said Mr. Vu Nam, Deputy Director Marketing Development of VNAT.
Vietnam is optimistic to see total arrivals further rising to 11.5 million foreign travellers this year. “We just introduce the possibility for an e-visa for citizens who need to submit to visa formalities to enter Vietnam. We are still hoping to also add more countries as we now assess the success of two years of free visa towards some European countries. But the decision is in the hand of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the process should take a bit of time. However we are optimistic to include more countries into the free visa-on-arrival scheme”, told Mr. Ha Van Sieu, Chairman of VNAT. Visa waiver is now applicable to citizens of 22 countries including all ASEAN members.
While e-visa facilities are officially confirmed for a launching on February 1st, 2017, VNAT is discussing further elements of simplifying the visa granting process. The government also works at attracting more direct flights into Vietnam.
New flights and frequencies between January and July include:
Bangkok Airways Bangkok-Danang from 4 to 7 weekly flights
Jeju Air Daegu-Danang 2 weekly flights
Jetstar Melbourne-Ho Chi Minh City 3 weekly flights
Sydney-Ho Chi Minh City 4 weekly flights
Jetstar Pacific Hanoi-Guangzhou daily
Ho Chi Minh C.-Guangzhou 5 weekly flights
Philippines Airlines Manila-Ho Chi Minh City from 7 to 11 weekly flights
Sichuan Airlines Chongqing-Nha Trang 3 weekly flights
Vietjet Hanoi-Singapore Daily
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi-Sydney 3 weekly flights
Phu Quoc-Shanghai 3 weekly flights
A major promotion will highlight this year hill stations. “They all offer a pristine nature, an authentic culture and pure fresh air. They are ideal places to visit to promote eco-tourism, mountain activities and adventure in magnificent natural landscapes “, indicates Mr. Vu Nam.
Four stations have been selected for promotion: Dalat Hill, a five hours drive from HCM City and two hours from Nha Trang, is Vietnam’s most famous resort as it used to be a summer retreat residence for upper civil servants and Vietnam emperor during colonial times; Sapa is one of the most visited stations by adventure and nature lovers with the presence of many ethnics in this northern mountainous city; Sapa City celebrated over 110 years while its beautiful rice terrace landscapes have been recognised as some of the most beautiful of Asia by international magazines.
Bana Hill is located near to Danang and has been rebuilt in the style of a French provincial city; And finally, Tam Dao resort station, a small town located in the midst of Tam Dao national park in Northern Vietnam. Tam Dao used to be a retreat for French public servants during colonial times although most of the old villas have been destroyed during the French-Vietnamese war.